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9.14.2014

The Chris Farley Show

So yeah, I went ahead and checked out the Chris Farley biography from 2008 and read it all.  Cannot tell you how unusual that is for me, to see a book through like that.

And I loved it.  It's written by Tom Farley Jr. (Chris' brother) and Tanner Colby (who also wrote a bio of John Belushi).  The style of the book is almost entirely quotes from various people in Chris' life; David Spade, his 'best' friend from SNL (who came off sounding a lot like a dick), Chris Rock, Odinkerk (2nd City writer), friends from Wisconsin, his 'soul' mate the Victoria Secret model Lori Bagley, Tim Meadows, and his three brothers, to name just some.  It gave, I thought, a pretty accurate portrait to hear so many perspectives on Chris, his personality and his career.



I was surprised to learn how devout Chris was; attending Mass several times a week, almost always having a spiritual director, his nearly constant contact with Matt Foley, his childhood-friend-gone-priest (for whom the 'van-down-by-the-river' motivational speaker is named).

It seemed as though, especially towards the end of this life, that Chris was literally attending confession then hiring hookers and doing crack in the same night.  Hmmmm.......I know that I'm supposed to say something like 'addicitons are so fierce, he just couldn't help it' but that just seems a little disingenuous.  However, with so many celebrities ripping on the church and leaving it, etc. it was a real breath of fresh air to see to what extent he embraced it.    

However, his spirituality was perhaps a little immatue, described as being an angel on one shoulder/devil on the other; which perhaps helps to explain why it didn't help in curing him of his addictions.  

And these addictions......Chris apparently came from a family 'that a psychiatrist could retire on', with rampant drinking that no one ever really acknowledged as a problem.  (Oh and what about the sister, btw?  she was mentioned like once throughout the entire book, sounding like a family totally dominated by men.)

Even at the age of 32/33 Chris was calling his father once a day to discuss business affairs and taking not the most astute advice; for example his father told him that he 'had' to accept the offer to star in Beverly Hills Ninja, even though the script looked mediocre, on the grounds that he was being offered over $2 million, and 'you just don't turn down that kind of money.'

It seems like this fierce attachment to his father (which lead Chris' career to spiral which caused him to be depressed) in addition to a personality fault/characteristic in which he was willing to be utterly self-depracating for a laugh (didn't know the difference between people laughing at him and laughing with him) kind of led to his demise from drug additions.

Here's Chris Rock's oft quoted analysis of Farley and the Chippendales sketch;

"'Chippendales' was a weird sketch. I always hated it...The joke of it is, basically, 'We can't hire you because you're fat.' There’s no turn there. There’s no comic twist to it. It’s just fucking mean. A more mentally together Chris Farley wouldn’t have done it, but Chris wanted so much to be liked … As funny as that sketch was, and as many accolades as he got for it, it’s one of the things that killed him. It really is. Something happened right then.

My favorite Chris Faley sketch was probably the Chris Farley Show or else possibly the dancing in the Lunch-Lady land.  And it breaks my heart that he died so young.  This book is SAD,  I cried during the last chapter.

This NYT review says 'who the hell cares' about CF so long after he's died and I guess maybe they have a point, was he like a C celebrity or something--looked a little out of place when he was presenting with Spade at the Oscars; but I think that Alec Baldwin made another important point here;

'It's sad when something like that happens to anyone, but somehow it seemed sadder when it happened to Chris.  Most of the people whom I've seen go down that path, they didn't have the humanity that he had."

A nun in the book recounts Chris' relationship with a mentally unstable/homeslss man, taking him out to dinner or ball games every week.  And I hadn't really seen making people laugh as a ministry before.  But I think that Chris put a lot of heart into his comedy; he really wanted to touch people, it wasn't so much about the ego, or having the spotlight on him. 

I finished off this Farley obsession by watching Tommy Boy; it is a very heartwarming little flick, tho I can also see why it received mediocre reviews; felt uncannily like trans plains and automobiles what with the destroyed car.........but it was good.

oh, more on the David-Spade-dick thing; his 'best' friend at SNL; in one quote he excused himself for helping Farley to get away from his sobriety guard & getting together with some hookers to use crack.  He also did not attend the funeral and provides another excuse; I dunno, he just came off sounding like a real jackass.



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